You might think you’re helping someone when you offer them unsolicited criticism — but are you really? Julia outlines 5 rules for giving criticism that’s less likely to offend, and more likely to actually help.
The documentary series “The Reagans” shows that President Ronald Reagan’s roots are corruption, racism, and corporatism. Trumpism is not an anomaly but walks in the footsteps of a right-wing construct to achieve tax cuts for the rich and undoing the New Deal. Director Matt Tynrauer joins theAnalysis.news with Paul Jay.
He’s being deliberately obtuse.
Ben Shapiro is not an idiot, but he’s the kind of guy who thinks that communicating poorly and acting smug when he’s misunderstood is the same thing as cleverness. And he’s the kind of guy who thinks that finding a definition that makes him technically correct is the same thing as winning an argument.
This tweet exchange is a great distillation of his entire personality. Someone asks why a regular person would even own zip-ties. In the context, it’s obvious to anyone paying attention that she’s referring to the ratcheted flexi-cuffs that the insurrectionists were carrying into the Capitol. Those have no use other than to restrain people, and have basically no legitimate uses outside of law enforcement and the military. The only people who aren’t in those fields who own one are either police/military wannabes, or people with very interesting private lives. The obvious point to the tweet is that even owning such a device (let alone bringing it with you when you break into the Capitol) shows exactly what kind of people we’re dealing with here.
Ben Shapiro, reading this, deliberately seizes on her exact words in an attempt to sound clever. After all, “zip-ties” technically refers to any kind of ratcheted cable tie, and those have many, many legitimate uses. Lots of people own them, I have a jar of them in my garage.
Of course, when it’s pointed out that those are obviously not what she meant, Shapiro throws his hands up, and responds with the classic “but you said…” After all, she said the word “zip-ties”, and that’s what “zip-ties” are, I can show you a dictionary. How was I supposed to know she was referring to police-style restraints? She didn’t say that. So I could only assume she meant the common piece of hardware! What was I supposed to do, pay the tiniest bit of attention to context? I’m technically right! I’m very clever!
This is exactly how Ben Shapiro operates. He looks for any word or phrase that someone on the other side of an argument uses, which he can then seize on, claim is wrong, and then declare victory. It doesn’t matter if the word choice has any relevance, whatsoever, to the argument in question, he’s proven the other person to be technically wrong, which means he must be technically right, which means he’s won the argument!
It’s a style of ‘debate’ that’s appealing to a certain mindset. It’s the equivalent of making fun of a typo or a grammatical error in something someone wrote, and then mocking them for being stupid, rather than paying any attention to something they’re actually saying. It has nothing to do with actually proving you’re right, and is based only on trying to embarrass your opponent. It’s the kind of thing you say when you’re fully focused on a very shallow version of “winning” rather than actually engaging or addressing anyone’s argument.
If your goal is to gain knowledge, understand perspectives, and change minds, it’s a deeply stupid strategy. But if your goal is to get retweeted because you “pwn’d teh libs”, then it’s actually very effective. Ben Shapiro knows exactly what he’s doing.
Jon takes examines Phil Vischer’s video “Race in America.”
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The Yale historian warns about the risk of totalitarianism under Trump. That’s great for selling books — but scholars are alarmed.
He is in New York to promote The Road to Unfreedom (Tim Duggan Books, 2018), his chronicle of the rise of authoritarianism, and juggling a labyrinthine schedule compiled by his two assistants and publicist. He’s doing two to three events a day, and, when I share a cab with him after one of his talks, he frets about the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro as president of Brazil and what it portends for the state of democracy worldwide. Mostly, though, he stares out the window, desperate for a nap. Promoting a book is usually a sprint, but Snyder has been running a marathon for close to 10 years now, and it doesn’t look like he’ll get to rest any time soon.
Not yet 50, Snyder has already ascended to a level of cultural influence and political currency rarely reached by academics. He is perhaps the most visible living interpreter of the Holocaust, Stalinism, and totalitarian violence writ large. He’s been on The Daily Show, Real Time With Bill Maher, Amanpour, and countless C-Span panels. He’s received orders of merit from three countries and published multiple bestsellers. His previous book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century (Tim Duggan Books, 2017), spent over a year on the New York Times best-seller list and has sold nearly 500,000 copies in the U.S. Last February, he presented a copy to the pope.
In short, Snyder has captured a mood. If you’re a liberal freaked out by Trump, Snyder is the dark prophet you’ve been waiting for. If you tend to believe that the worst might happen, Snyder is here to confirm your fears.